Board Biographies

Caleb Buckley

Administrative Director

Caleb Buckley, Administrative Director, Caleb Buckley has a doctorate in education from U.C. Davis and holds a certificate in Waldorf high school training. Caleb grew up in the Bay Area and attended the Marin Waldorf School, Redwood High School and later SF State. He was a founding teacher of the Austin Waldorf High School where he taught for 9 years. Most recently, he served as a charter school director for a decade in Nevada City, CA. Caleb has also done political consulting and worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange but he has always returned to bring his experiences back into Waldorf education.

Joan Caldarera

HS Humanities

Joan Caldarera holds a BA in English from the University of Rochester, a MA in drama from the University of Toronto, and a PhD in educational leadership from U.C. Davis. Dr. Caldarera began at San Francisco Waldorf School teaching Kindergarten for four years then graduated her first class, which she took from the fifth grade, in June 1993, before leading a second class from first through fifth grades. Having chaired the high school planning committee, she joined the high school faculty in 1997, teaching and serving as High School Chair for five years. From there she moved to the Head of Administration position, which she held for four years. Her two eldest children graduated from SFWS in 1990 and 1994, while son Michael-Tobias was in the first SFWHS graduating class, and son Andreas graduated in 2009.

Danielle Dignan

Danielle Dignan is a founding partner of DM Development, a San Francisco-based boutique real estate development and investment firm. Prior to her real estate endeavors, Danielle taught field courses in the mountains and on the coast for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), taught offshore sail training, and wrote professionally for sailing magazines. She is a USCG licensed captain and has a BA in history from the University of Rhode Island. Danielle lives in San Francisco with her husband and their two children, and is often found outside sailing, surfing or playing tennis. She is a member of the NOLS Advisory Council.

Gerhard Engels

Director of Finance and Strategic Planning

Gerhard Engels, Director of Finance and Strategic Planning, joined SFWS in 2008, bringing to the school more than 20 years of experience as a management consultant and financial analyst. His work history includes 7 years with Arthur Anderson and Accenture, as well as management consulting nationally and internationally. A few years ago he experienced a shift of values, causing him to change into the non-for-profit world. He holds a M.S. in Mathematics from University Bonn in Germany. He has two boys currently enrolled at SFWS.

John Froley

John Froley is a Certified Financial Planner(tm) professional and a Managing Director and Portfolio Manager with First Republic Private Wealth Management in San Francisco. John has over 20 years of experience in investment management and currently works with high net worth individuals, foundations and private organizations in managing diversified investment portfolios. John and his wife Courtney live in Half Moon Bay with their two teenage daughters who attend the San Francisco Waldorf High School. John earned a Bachelor of Art's degree in English from University of California, Santa Barbara in 1990.

Elizabeth Halifax

Alumni Parent

Elizabeth Halifax has a PhD from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), a postgraduate diploma in Business Studies from The Metropolitan University, London, a BA in Economic and Social History from the University of York, UK and is a Registered Nurse. Her two children graduated from the San Francisco Waldorf High School (2013 and 2015). She currently is a Research Specialist at UCSF exploring palliative and nursing home care at end of life, and teaches care of older adults at California State University to nursing and social work professionals.

Ghita Harris-Newton

Ghita Harris-Newton is an attorney for Yahoo, where she works as Assistant General Counsel, Head of Global Privacy Law & Privacy Policy, and founder and Chair of the Legal Department’s Pro Bono & Community Service Program. Ghita received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, magna cum laude, and her B.A. from James Madison University, summa cum laude. Ghita has 3 children currently attending the San Francisco Waldorf School.

Gretchen Hillenbrand

John Jackson

HS Mathematics, 12th Grade Sponsor, Co-Chair

John Jackson completed his Waldorf Teacher Training at Emerson College in 1983. He taught for 15 years at the Summerfield Waldorf School in Santa Rosa before coming to the San Francisco Waldorf School in 2001. He was a class teacher for 11 years, and now teaches math, physical education and coaches after-school sports.

Sami Kudsi


Sami Kudsi, Secretary, has been a professor of speech communication at the City College of San Francisco since 1994. He has experience teaching small group communication, interpersonal communication, and public speaking. For 10 years, he served as a coach for the CCSF Speech and Debate Team. Since 2003, he has served as the Coordinator of the CCSF Honors Program. Mr. Kudsi also served on the CCSF Strategic Planning Committee and is certified as a DACUM curriculum development facilitator. Sami earned both his bachelors and masters degrees in Communication from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Elizabeth Rutherfurd

Elizabeth Rutherfurd is an accomplished & energetic results-driven leader with over 16 years of experience providing strategic solutions for client’s critical business needs from global work environments to individual executive coaching. As a Portfolio Leader at Future State, Elizabeth resources and runs effective teams to execute strategic and tactical solutions that enable clarity, alignment, decision-making and execution across complex stakeholder environments. She is a collaborative and cooperative leader, making sure that the success of the project and the goals of the client remain the top priority in any group process. Elizabeth brings clear thinking, compassion and a deep understanding of human behavior and dynamics to produce outstanding results across organizations.

Alison Sant-Johnson

Vice President

Alison Sant, Vice President, is a co-founder and partner in the Studio for Urban Projects. Founded in 2006, the Studio for Urban Projects is an art and design practice that seeks to advance civic engagement and further public dialogue. Their inter-disciplinary and research-based projects aim to provoke change by re-framing perceptions of the city and physically transforming elements of the built environment. Engaging the broad themes of ecology and urbanism, their projects have taken the form of exhibitions, urban interventions, audio tours, interactive technologies and architectural environments. Through these projects they reflect upon the cultural dynamics that shape the urban landscape. The Studio for Urban Projects has been shown at Eyebeam, Berkeley Art Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, ZeroOne San Jose, and SPUR among other venues. Their public art has been commissioned by the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs. Sant currently teaches classes at the California College of Art and has also taught at the San Francisco Art Institute and Mills College. She received her BFA from New York University in the Departments of Photography and Interactive Telecommunications and received her Masters in Design at the College of Environmental Design, University of California Berkeley. Sant has served as a curator and board member of Southern Exposure, member of the Art Program Oversight committee for the San Jose Airport, and board member of the Summit Foundation and the Seed Fund.

Sheila Schroeder


Sheila Schroeder, President, has been active in the securities industry for 25+ years. She is Director of Client Development for Mosaic Financial Partners where she is focused on bringing together the needs of their clients with the resources and expertise the Mosaic team has to offer. Prior to joining Mosaic she worked as Director of Investor Relations for Mountain Lake Investment Management and as a senior institutional equity salesperson and team leader, in the Asian/Japanese markets, in sectors including technology, commodities, infrastructure, consumer and financials. During her tenure she served as lead salesperson on multiple IPO's and secondary offerings, including a number in excess of $1B. She is involved with several non-profits in a fundraising and organizational role, and co-founded Electing Women San Francisco to further national campaigns of female Democratic US Senate and Gubernatorial candidates. She also serves on the Chautauqua Institution Promise campaign as a lead gifts volunteer. Sheila graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in Political Science which included a year of study at Waseda University in Tokyo. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, Jason Phillips and their twin children. She is an avid runner and hiker.

James Stearns

Jim Stearns is President of Stearns Consulting, Inc., a political communications firm located in San Francisco, CA. Stearns has extensive experience in all aspects of public affairs and political campaign communication. As a media consultant, he has personally created hundreds of television, radio, direct mail and print advertisements for political and advocacy campaigns. Past and present clients include Governor Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris, Assembly member Tom Ammiano, California Teachers Association, California Nurses Association, Save the Bay, Trust for Public Land, Sierra Club, and the California Democratic Party. He has received numerous awards for strategic and graphic excellence for mail and print advertising.
Previously, Stearns was Vice-President and Creative Director at Campaign Performance Group – one of the nation’s leading political direct mail companies. Stearns began his career in public affairs as the Press Secretary for the Democratic House Caucus in Hartford, Connecticut in 1984. Stearns attended Deep Springs College and the University of California at Berkeley.

Carina Trowbridge

Carina Trowbridge is an attorney and a former prosecutor for the Alameda County District Attorney's Office in California. She has served as a member of the Board of Managers for the Bayview/Hunter's point YMCA in San Francisco, on the Board of Directors of Children in Need International, and as a board member for the Marina Community Association of San Francisco.

Moira Walsh

Moira Walsh is the Managing Attorney of the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, responsible for overall resource allocation and service delivery for civil law matters for the Mayor, Board of Supervisors and 100 departments, commissions and offices that comprise the City and County of San Francisco’s municipal government. Moira previously served as the COO and Associate ED at Philanthropic Ventures Foundation (PVF) for 10 years, and currently serves on its Board of Directors (since 2009). Moira has an extensive background in both the legal and non-profit sectors. Before joining PVF, Moira was a partner in the law firm of Carr, McClellen, Ingersoll, Thompson & Horn PC. Additionally, she has worked with, led and served on the boards of numerous Bay Area nonprofit agencies and foundations, including the Thomas J. Long Foundation since 2010, San Francisco Court Appointed Special Advocates (SFCASA), Friends of Potrero Hill (2005 - 2014) and was the co-chair of the Capital Campaign of the Sterne School (2014-2015). Moira holds a BA from UC Santa Barbara, Magna Cum Laude, and a JD from George Washington University, National Law Center, Washington, D.C. A San Francisco native, Moira lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.

William Wolcott


William "Cotty" Wolcott, Treasurer, works as an Executive Director in Private Wealth Management for The Private Bank of JP Morgan. Prior to joining the bank in 2010, he worked in institutional equity sales for Lazard Freres, Montgomery, and J.P. Morgan Securities from 2002- 2009. From 1993-2001, he worked at the boutique investment bank, Hambrecht & Quist, where he served as a Principal on the Equity Capital Markets Desk. He lives in Cole Valley with his wife and two children (10th and 5th graders) and enjoys spending time fishing, golfing and duck hunting. He received his B.A. in Environmental Studies from Hobart & William Smith Colleges and attended The Cate School. He also serves on the board of The Bay Institute ( serving to protect, restore and inspire conservation of San Francisco Bay and its watershed from the Sierra to the Pacific.

Michael Zatopa

Alumni Parent

Mike Zatopa is an attorney in private practice representing parents of disabled children in obtaining appropriate special education, mental health, and other services from public school districts and social service agencies. Mike also represents non-profit corporations that provide special education, residential and mental health services to publicly funded children. Michael has a BA from the University of San Francisco, a JD from University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Mike has also served as Board President of two non-profit child welfare agencies, and is on his second stint as member of the SFWS Board of Trustees.

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